Oh My! Orioles Blast Seven Homers in Rout of Jays
Desperately needing a victory to keep pace with the Yankees who also won on Wednesday, the Orioles matched a franchise record by blasting seven home runs in a 12-2 rout over the Blue Jays. The victory keeps them just 1 ½ games back of the Yankees in the AL East, while maintaining a slim lead for the Wild Card.
Nate McLouth got the offensive explosion started with a solo blast off Carlos Villanueva in the first inning. The ageless wonder Jim Thome followed suit in the fifth inning, launching his eighth home run of the season and 612th of his Hall-of-Fame career. They certainly weren’t done yet though, as Manny Machado belted his own solo shot in the fifth, and Chris Davis connected on a three-run bomb to chase Villanueva from the game.
Mark Reynolds got in on the action in the sixth, smashing a two-run shot off Joel Carreno in the sixth inning, his 23rd of the year. Chris Davis tacked on yet another, this time of the two-run variety off Chad Beck in the seventh, increasing his career-best to 28.
The night wasn’t complete yet though, as 20-year-old phenom Manny Machado joined Davis in the multi-homer club, smashing a David Carpenter fastball over the wall in left field. It’s looking increasingly likely that the upstart Orioles will deliver the team’s first playoff berth since the 1997 season.
Rodney Racks Up Another Save
Fernando Rodney continued his dream season on Wednesday, racking up his 45th save in a victory over the Red Sox, second only to Jim Johnson in MLB. The 35-year-old right-hander who inked a one-year, $2 Million dollar contract in the offseason is enjoying one of the most phenomenal (and surprising) season’s of any reliever in the history of the league.
If you recall correctly, Rodney didn’t even begin the season as the Rays’ closer. He was signed to work in a set-up role for Kyle Farnsworth, who strained his elbow near the end of spring training. Rodney was handed the job on an interim basis and never looked back.
He has now converted 45 of his 47 save chances on the season while compiling an unthinkable 0.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 71/15 K/BB ratio over 71 1/3 innings of work. A man who had walked over 4 ½ batters per nine innings over his nine-year MLB career has issued a grand total of 15 on the season. Simply mind-boggling.
While some detractors will always argue that the Cy Young award should always be awarded to a starting pitcher, Rodney will certainly deserve legitimate consideration. In fact, he may end up battling it out with teammate David Price to see who ends up walking away with the postseason hardware. No AL closer has won the award since Dennis Eckersley in 1992, while Eric Gagne infamously grabbed the award in the National League after the 2003 campaign.
White Sox’ Slide Continues
After leading the American League Central for the vast majority of the 2012 season, the White Sox officially handed the top spot in the division over to the Tigers on Wednesday after dropping a 6-4 decision to the visiting Indians.
They held a somewhat comfortable three-game lead in the division late last week, but have played just brutal baseball down the home stretch. They’re now 1-6 over their last seven contests and will need to stop the slide immediately or there will be no postseason baseball in Chicago.
They’ll head into the final week of the regular season trailing the Tigers by one full game. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors either, as they’ll take on the hard-charging Rays for four games at home before finishing with a three-game set against the Indians in Cleveland. White Sox skipper Robin Ventura has done a nice job overall in his first season at the helm, but will likely shoulder much of the blame for their epic collapse if they are unable to pull it out in the end.
National League Quick Hits: The Giants officially announced that Melky Cabrera will not be a part of the team’s postseason roster… Giancarlo Stanton missed his ninth straight game due to a strained intercostal muscle, but remains hopeful of returning to the lineup on Thursday… Michael Bourn missed his fourth consecutive start with a jammed thumb, and remains day-to-day… Marlins outfielder Justin Ruggiano has been shut down for the remainder of the season with a sprained right shoulder… Chad Billingsley has been able to play catch on back-to-back days, and could avoid Tommy John surgery… Tim Lincecum could have his next start pushed back as the Giants attempt to line up their postseason rotation… Jeurys Familia will make his first Major League start on Monday, taking the place of Collin McHugh in the Mets’ rotation… Matt Kemp homered and drove home four in a victory over the Padres… Martin Prado homered and plated two as the Braves topped the Marlins… John Lannan improved to 4-0, allowing just two runs over 5 1/3 innings against the Phillies… Bryce Harper homered, tripled, stole a base and drove home three in a victory over the Phillies. He’s now hitting .262/.332/.459 with 20 homers, 56 RBI and 17 steals in an impressive rookie campaign… Chris Carpenter looked sharp in his second start, allowing just two runs on four hits over six innings in a losing effort against the Astros… Craig Kimbrel fanned four hitters in just one inning of work, notching his 40th save of the season… Bud Norris struck out seven over 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a victory over the Cardinals… Matt Cain fanned six over seven scoreless innings as the Giants blanked the Diamondbacks.
American League Quick Hits: Bartolo Colon continues to throw and hopes to return to the Athletics when his 50-game suspension is over, however the A’s are unlikely to give him a postseason roster spot… Jacoby Ellsbury missed his sixth straight game with an apparent lat injury, but expects to return to the lineup on Thursday… Coco Crisp missed another game due to conjunctivitis and continues to have vision problems… Yu Darvish is tentatively set to start on Sunday afternoon against the Angels… Randy Wolf has been diagnosed with a torn UCL in his left elbow and will likely require a second Tommy John surgery… Ubaldo Jimenez has been shut down for the rest of the season due to a sprained ankle, finishing with an extremely disappointing 9-17 record, 5.55 ERA and 1.61 WHIP… Brett Anderson was able to play catch on Thursday and remains hopeful he’ll be able to return for the postseason… CC Sabathia delivered a strong performance, pitching eight innings of two-run ball with 10 strikeouts in a victory over the Twins… With two doubles on Wednesday, Alex Gordon now has a league-leading 51 on the season, and trails Hal McRae’s franchise record by just three… Austin Jackson belted his 16th homer of the season as the Tigers topped the Royals to reclaim the lead in the AL Central… Alex Cobb pitched five innings of one-run ball as the Rays won their seventh consecutive game… Martin Perez was hammered in a loss to the Athletics, allowing five runs on six hits in just 2/3 of an inning… Torii Hunter delivered a clutch walk-off single, leading the Angels to a critical come-from-behind victory over the Mariners to keep their dim playoff hopes alive.